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Weight: Love, Loss and Lifting

 |  Fitness, Personal

It’s no secret that I have been struggling with my weight for a long time. Actually, struggling is probably the wrong word. I was fat for a long time, but I didn’t really do a whole lot about it except moan that I was fat, so struggling is perhaps over-egging it somewhat.

This is me on my 21st birthday —courtesy of Katy

(Yeah, you know, I don’t think you lot have been missing much by not seeing pictures of me for the past 10 years.)

Anyway, take a good look at that picture. Double chin, fat gut, huge boobs (in a terrible bra), thunder thighs; I can even see chub on my neck FFS. I was a UK size 18 in that picture. I was inactive and ate shit frozen food from Iceland on a daily basis.

Back then, and indeed until Isabel was born I lived in jeans and t-shirts. I told myself and others it was because I loved jeans and t-shirts — and I still do, don’t get me wrong — but the reality is that I thought jeans and t-shirts hid the flab. I thought that jeans and t-shirts meant people couldn’t see what a fatty I was. I hated the way I looked and I wanted to hide it.

Of course in hindsight the jeans and a t-shirt combo meant I a) looked like a dude and b) lacked any definition or curves which made me look WAY worse than a tighter fitting top might have. We live and we learn.

Years of gradual improvements to my eating habits and hyperemesis throughout my pregnancies dramatically decreasing my weight I get to roughly this time last year: a UK size 14, having once maybe snuck into a size 12 in a Dorothy Perkins changing room but only just long enough to stop me breathing and never long enough for it to be considered “wearing a size 12”. But I still hated the way I looked.

And I start running (for unrelated reasons), and I ditch the alcohol and I reduce my diet to 1500 calories a day and I still don’t see any improvement.

Meanwhile I go through a massive life change and fall head over heels in love with somebody new. Somebody who makes me feel attractive even though I can’t seem to lose weight. Someone who, for the first time in many, many years ever makes me feel like I deserve to wear something other than jeans and t-shirts. Someone who makes me want to buy sexy underwear and nice dresses. Someone who makes me love myself despite my flaws, and suddenly losing that weight doesn’t seem like the be-all and end-all afterall.

Of course I could end this tale of weight woes on that paragraph, leaving you all “awwing” over the fatty who found love, but it doesn’t really end there. Because it turns out that there IS a way for me to lose weight, and I can do it without massively restricting my diet or giving up the odd glass of wine.

Turns out my body likes it when I lift weights. And I’m not even doing it at a gym or with any expensive equipment: I bought a 20kg dumbbell set from Amazon for about £30. I am doing the same set of lifts once a week and even though people told me I shouldn’t lift weights (not sure why) and even though I only do it for 20 minutes once a week, I have gradually lost inches of fat. I haven’t lost weight, in fact I weigh more than I did 6 months ago (yay muscle gain), but I am comfortably wearing a size 12 for the first time in my life.

I wear clothes because I like how they look, and not because of how much they’ll cover. I eat real food (and plenty of it) and I still drink wine. I like myself, and I like liking myself.

But that’s nothing to do with my weight after all.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

9 comments so far

  1. Audrey said:

    There’s a lot of people that tell women not to lift so they don’t look manly. It’s dumb. Lifting adds tone, which can look sexy as hell! You sound like you’re happy, and I am happy for you. Happy for you to feel healthier and feel not only loved, but coveted. Everyone deserves those feelings. It’s wonderful when we find that other person that can do it for us.

  2. Tracy said:

    Lifting is perfect for toning your body, gaining muscle and losing fat. I also wonder why people told you not to do that. Building muscles and seeing how it tones your body is great :)

    • Jem said:


      When I’ve lost a bit more weight I might be brave enough to post proper before and after pictures. We’ll see how many of those against lady lifters still think I should stick to running then…

  3. MrsB said:

    I just punched the air! Lifting weights is awesome – it transforms your body AND your mind :) I’m so happy that you have joined the club :)

  4. echo said:

    I’m with everyone else on the lifting; I think more women should do it. Keep it up, lifting weights is cool! Also, congratulations on being happy. You deserve it! :D

  5. Katherine said:

    Weight training is awesome! The more muscle you build over time, the greater your resting metabolism is. (I think the ratio is you burn 45 more calories per hour per 1 lib of muscle). :D

    Also (in my opinion) you just freaking FEEL better when you body can lug itself around without actually feeling like you weigh anything. It’s a great self-esteem booster when you’ve been working on your legs and go up three flights of stairs and you don’t even feel it. <3

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